Computer Brain Training: Is It Worth The Time and Money?

Almost every week I am asked about computer games for brain training. The overall reports are not positive for this medium. Check out this story published in Time: Computer Games and Brain Training

Why don’t computer games work?

Most computer activities focus on one part of cognitive foundations skills, typically on working memory or visual processing skills. But sharpening many cognitive skills together, such as attention, memory, logic and reasoning, auditory processing, visual processing, and processing speed, results in the best outcomes.

Computer games don't offer enough intensity. Intensity is part of what matters in changing your brain. It requires focused work, such as repeating a task 20 or more times at increasing levels of difficulty, so the skills become automatic. For real change, the task must also be truly challenging.

What's more, computer games do not help shape responses. They typically tell you that your response was wrong or right. But they give no qualitative feedback or little hints on how close you were to achieving something and what you need to adjust to respond on target. Let’s face it, we’re human. There is no bigger motivator for us than another person who is on our side. That other person to cheer us on is our big carrot to continue when things get tough!

There are a very few computer activities that might be helpful to tweak your brain skills, but they need to be used as part of a comprehensive cognitive program. That's what we offer at The Brain Trainer.

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